WEL­COME TO FES­TI­VAL COUN­TRY! CANADA’S LIVELY EVENTS SCENE

Canada’s Lively Events Scene

Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY DIANE SLAWYCH

Canada is a land of four sea­sons and, in each and ev­ery phase, there are hun­dreds of fes­ti­vals to en­joy. Many, such as the Win­ter Car­ni­val in Québec and the World Ski and Snow­board Fes­ti­val in Bri­tish Columbia, rank among the big­gest and best events of their kind.

Oth­ers are deeply-rooted in the coun­try’s his­tory and cul­ture, such as the many Abo­rig­i­nal pow­wows that begin in spring, or the Gros Morne Theatre Fes­ti­val in New­found­land that highlights the prov­ince’s unique sto­ries and mu­sic. Here is a sam­ple:

IN THE LAND OF ICE AND SNOW

“My coun­try is not a coun­try, it’s win­ter.” You’d have to live in Québec to truly ap­pre­ci­ate the fa­mous line from French Cana­dian singer Gilles Vigneault’s song “My Coun­try” (“Mon pays”). While cold, snowy days may seem to drag on for months, that hasn’t stopped Québe­cers, known for their joie de vivre, from turn­ing win­ter into a time for cel­e­bra­tion. The cen­ter­piece of the Québec Win­ter Car­ni­val, a 17-day event in Québec City which be­gins in late Jan­uary, is the mag­nif­i­cent Ice Palace—made from 300-pound blocks of ice—which ev­ery­one en­joys ex­plor­ing. Other must-sees in­clude the in­ter­na­tional snow sculp­ture com­pe­ti­tion and the night pa­rades. Else­where, check out the ice ca­noe and dogsled races, try ice fish­ing and have your photo taken with Bon­homme—the friendly snow­man mas­cot (www.car­naval.qc.ca).

WIN­NIPEG’S INDIGE­NOUS EX­TRAV­A­GANZA

Lively singing, danc­ing and drum­ming are all part of the pow­wow, along with colour­ful and imag­i­na­tive Indige­nous re­galia, from the elab­o­rate feather head­dress to beaded moc­casins and the jin­gle dress. Ev­ery year dozens of pow­wows take place in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try, but the Man­ito Ah­bee Fes­ti­val in Win­nipeg in mid-May is one of the largest in Canada. It fea­tures hun­dreds of dancers who com­pete for cash prizes in nu­mer­ous cat­e­gories, along with award­win­ning drum groups from across the con­ti­nent. The event also rec­og­nizes the ac­com­plish­ments of Indige­nous record­ing artists and mu­sic in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als from around the globe, and fea­tures a mar­ket­place and trade show. Back for a third year is the Mu­sic and Arts Pro­gram which in­cludes a mu­sic con­fer­ence and mu­sic show­case along with an art expo and tra­di­tional art com­pe­ti­tion with quill­work, bead­work, rib­bon skirts and star-blan­kets. Cash prizes are up for grabs at the live art chal­lenge, where visi­tors can vote for their favourite pieces. There is also a square dance and jig­ging com­pe­ti­tion in hon­our of the Métis com­mu­nity (www.man­i­toah­bee.com).

BOLDLY GO­ING WHERE NO PRAIRIE TOWN HAS GONE BE­FORE

How did a quiet south­ern Al­berta town with a pop­u­la­tion of 1,917 peo­ple be­come the “Of­fi­cial Star Trek Cap­i­tal of Canada?” It helps to have a name like Vul­can, the home planet of Mr. Spock, one of the show’s main char­ac­ters. Played by the late Leonard Ni­moy, as it turns out, he sup­ported the idea. For two days in late July fans of the pop­u­lar Amer­i­can TV series, and the

SHUT­TER­STOCK/SHAWN GOLD­BERG

MICHAEL FRANTI, TD TORONTO JAZZ FES­TI­VAL •

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